The most important theme in this study is to obtain equations based on economic indicators (gross national product - GNP and gross domestic product - GDP) and population increase to predict the net energy consumption of Turkey using artificial neural networks (ANNs) in order to determine future level of the energy consumption and make correct investments in Turkey. In this study, three different models were used in order to train the ANN. In one of them (Model 1), energy indicators such as installed capacity, generation, energy import and energy export, in second (Model 2), GNP was used and in the third (Model 3), GDP was used as the input layer of the network. The net energy consumption (NEC) is in the output layer for all models. In order to train the neural network, economic and energy data for last 37 years (1968-2005) are used in network for all models. The aim of used different models is to demonstrate the effect of economic indicators on the estimation of NEC. The maximum mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) was found to be 2.322732, 1.110525 and 1.122048 for Models 1, 2 and 3, respectively. R 2 values were obtained as 0.999444, 0.999903 and 0.999903 for training data of Models 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The ANN approach shows greater accuracy for evaluating NEC based on economic indicators. Based on the outputs of the study, the ANN model can be used to estimate the NEC from the country's population and economic indicators with high confidence for planing future projections. (D 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.